17 fun places to go and things to do this holiday season
Older adults can find a variety of fun places to go and things to do this holiday season. And the possibilities must feel great after last year when the pandemic restricted us.
There’s an event or activity for almost everyone, no matter the traditions and holidays you celebrate. You can also find something enjoyable regardless of your activity level.
Things to see for the holidays
Here’s a variety of the many things to see throughout the greater Philadelphia area during the holidays.
- Macy’s Christmas Light Show. Full disclosure: I started with this because it’s a favorite of mine since my kids were little. It originated at Wanamaker’s (now Macy’s) in 1956 and has delighted generations of families. It just runs once daily this year, though. You can also explore the store’s Dicken’s Village with a reservation.
- Deck the Halls Light Show. After dark, you’ll see a multicolor light show on the western side of City Hall. Nearby is an ice skating rink where you can lace up or people watch!
- Christmas at Longwood Gardens. You’ll see stunning trees, themed waterways and unique light displays at the indoor and outdoor walk.
- The Comcast Holiday Spectacular. It’s a 15-minute, family-friendly show displayed on an outdoor video wall in the Comcast Center Plaza at 1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard. It goes on every hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
- Holiday Garden Railway Display at Morris Arboretum. It features a quarter mile of track with buildings all made of natural materials, forming a miniature landscape with rivers and buildings that are exact replicas of originals including Independence Hall.
- The Wilmington and Western Railroad. Enjoy an evening ride to see light display. Or grab the grandkids for a daytime Santa Claus trip on the historic railroad out of Delaware.
- Mummer’s Parade. Watch, laugh, dance or just marvel at the annual New Year’s Day event (that took a hiatus last year) throughout downtown Philadelphia.
Activities to do around the holidays
With all the indulgences that tend to go with holidays, it’s probably a good idea for older adults to get some activity during the season. These seasonal attractions offer activity for your holiday fun times:
- LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo. As you walk the zoo grounds, you can see trees made into butterflies, flamingos, and an octopus – all made of lights. You’ll also get a glimpse of animals and performance artists.
- Dilworth Park Ice Skating. You can lace up, skate and then warm up in a cozy cabin for warm drinks and food. You might want to make reservations ahead of time.
- Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. Take family or friends to glide around the rink, play carnival games or just enjoy time by an outdoor fire.
- Light Up Holiday Weekends in West Chester. Not sure if this belongs in ‘Things to see’ or ‘Activities to do’ because it covers both. The borough of West Chester holds themed holiday weekends that include thousands of lights, festive displays, shopping, seasonal performances, and dining and drinking specials.
- Reading Terminal Market Kwanza Celebration. From December 26-30, there’s a special focus on celebrations, gifts and apparel.
- The Philadelphia Christmas Village. This is an authentic open-air German-style Christmas Market at LOVE Park and City Hall with vendors, dancing, beer tastings and more throughout the holiday season.
- A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season. The festive showcase features spirited renditions of holiday classics and includes 300 performers, including performances by The Philly POPS Festival Chorus, The Philadelphia Boys Choir, and The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir. Varying dates and times throughout December.
Take a short road trip
If you have the time and means, take a day (or evening) trip to some fun places this holiday season.
- Christkindlmarkt. This holiday event in Bethlehem, PA, is a one-of-a-kind family event that has been recognized twice as one of the best holiday markets in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure. Shopping, eating and entertainment in the spirit of a traditional German market.
- Peddler’s Village. You can finish holiday shopping or just admire one million holiday lights strung on businesses and restaurants throughout the Bucks County destination.
- Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farm. It’s a three-million-light show you can drive through, or if weather permits, you can ride in a wagon. You can also cozy up around a campfire afterward in this Bucks County attraction
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